Decolonising - ‘If I were you, I would not write about any sensitive issue’

Last year, I was in Hongkong, working in a Korean government organisation there for several months. My job was doing research about the contemporary art scene and issues in art and culture. I needed to submit monthly reports to the organisation. When I arrived in the city, it was the middle of July, and, looking for my first story, I began wandering the streets, doing research. Fortunately, I encountered a big ceremony in the center of the Wanchai district. I figured out that it was the annual ceremony of Farun Dafa (Falun Gong, 法輪功, 法轮功), a religious group from China that have been seriously oppressed by the Chinese government for the last two decades. I’d once heard about the religion, and the event was really big, so I wanted to write about the ceremony for my report. So the next morning I started to write about what I’d seen, and tried to find some general information about the ceremony on the Internet but it was hard to find. It was so strange for me, so I asked my colleagues how and where I might find some information. Instead of answering my question, they asked me whether or not I had a working visa; and actually at that time I didn’t have one. They advised me not to write stories that the Chinese government might dislike, if I wanted to get a visa from the Hongkong government. After hesitating, I finally decided not to write the story, just in case. I guess, it might not be that sensitive issue, and I probably over-reacted, but recalling this pevious episode still makes me feel embarrassed. I think my decision was a kind of self-censorship, and the experience confirmed the extent to which my own mind has become colonised.


 Credit: An annual ceremony event of Farun Dafa. A picture taken by Hong at Wanchai, HongKong (July 2018)

Image selection and post written by Hong (To see Instagram post, please click here)